A Letter to the Editor on Energy Policy

Is slashing the EPA budget an act of shooting yourself in the foot?

Sacramento Bee 3-20-17

Don’t slash the EPA’s budget

What if ISIS was responsible for the flooding that damaged or destroyed 40,000 homes in Louisiana in 2016? What if al-Qaida was responsible for the California foothills forest fires that destroyed thousands of homes over the last several years? What if Russia was responsible for the extreme weather events across America that routinely put the lives and businesses at risk?

Maybe it’s time to label climate change for what it is. An act of terror striking at our national security. Who then would propose to slash the Environmental Protection Agency budget?”

Harold Ferber , Elk Grove


California Geo Responds—

Ferber’s letter provides a fresh look at the process of a developing public policy.  If we equate the actions of bad actors (terrorists) with “natural” disasters we experience in greater frequency, concluding neither is good for us—it begs a question.

If we are willing to do something to combat the former, why do we tolerate our government’s avowed retreat from the latter?  There is no congruity between such policies. Acts of terrorism don’t carry the finality of climate disruption that scientists promise us.  

Humans can study and perhaps moderate or contain the growth of terrorism.  Climate change is widespread, permanent, brings lasting damage, and  is costly and disruptive on a scale that terrorism could never be.

Getting carbon out of our skies is an idea that many other nations have embraced.  We even signed on to that global effort, December 2015, in Paris.  Now, U.S. policy seems to scream that we were nuts to pursue climate combat, along with the other 150+ nations who made a commitment to the Paris Agreement.  They must all be nuts, too.

—Bill Martin